George Monbiot contributes a thoughtful, but depressing, column to today’s Guardian. It’s on the subject of the worrying environmental trends laid out in the UN’s latest Global Environmental Outlook report, published last week.
His sense of depression is deepened by the fact that he’s been reading Cormac McCarthy’s dystopian novel, The Road. I can’t say I blame him, it’s easy to have feelings of the inevitability of disaster when you mix a potent cocktail of the GEO report and dystopian novels. Ingredients such as Oryx and Crake or The Sheep Look Up when combined with the cold hard facts of GEO4 have a powerful effect on me as well. I become convinced that a pessimist is merely an optimist who is in full possession of the facts. As Monbiot says:
Civilisation is just a russeting on the skin of the biosphere, never immune from being rubbed against the sleeve of environmental change.